Timothy (Tim) Hughes
September 1, 2017

The Importance of Change Makers in Social Sales

The Importance of Change Makers in Social Sales

This article by Timothy (Tim) Hughes, looks at the importance of Change Makers and Mobilisers in the new Social Sales paradigm. It is another installment in our “Great Articles You may have missed” series.

The New Social Sales Paradigm

Sitting in a Starbucks at a motorway service station on the M40 (a major English motorway, for those who don’t know), thinking how things have changed.

I’m about to speak at a sales conference, on social selling. 20 years ago I would have used maps, maybe printed directions. Today, I just fed the postcode into the car GPS and followed its instructions.

Service stations in the UK were well known for poor food, shoddy service and expensive prices. Their marketing position was long ago made very clear: the customer is a transaction. The customer is on a long journey. They don’t know anywhere else to go and who cares if they come back. And we are going to charge like a wounded rhino!

The service station is now full of franchises, KFC, Burger King, Starbucks etc. As we all know, these companies provide the same product, same service and pretty much the same price (there are local variations).

It’s one of those times where I sit down to write, with nothing really on my mind. I buy a coffee and see what happens.

Change? The internet is making no impact on me and my buyers?

There are a group of guys sitting behind me in work overalls, eating an English Breakfast talking about spending their holidays this year at @AirBnB.

In my headphones, I’m listening to my LinkedIn and Sales Navigator expert, Alex Low presenting in London on Social Selling at a conference for people from legal practices. As well as Alex speaking in London, there are 200 of us watching a live stream on Periscope.

Just sitting here it amazes me how things have changed and how fast things are continuing to change.

I could quote you research, but I won’t, as there are so many examples of our own buyer disfunction.

But I’ve Been Selling Like this for 20 Years! It Worked Then And It Works Today.

Yes, I know that many people reading this will probably have been successful and will be for the next few years. But what are you really doing now to change to “the new”?

What are you going to do today that your future-self will thank you for?

Why That Sales Methodology Is no Longer Fit for Purpose!

In Graham Hawkins second book, “The Future of the Sales Profession”, he looks back at all sales methodologies in the past. I’ve been trained on a few.

A friend of mine is advising a company and creating a sales and marketing plan from scratch. They have had a number of the “usual suspects” sales methodology companies in to make presentations. As you can imagine, most friends of mine “get” Social Selling”. Or at least they have some idea of social in the workplace.

As part of the presentation, this “named” sales methodology company were asked about social, and the use of it in their methodology. My friend said it was interesting that they didn’t make eye contact as they said: “our customers don’t see social and social selling as being relevant”. I’m not for one second saying this company lied or told an untruth. Maybe their customers don’t understand social. If not, I’m guessing they don’t seem to live in the same world as me (and my buyers).

So What’s This Blog’s Point?

It scares me that sales methodologies are falling behind the times; methodologies that are tried and trusted but don’t seem to fit in a modern world.

What is Required from a Modern Social Sales Methodology?

Changemakers / Mobilisers

In my book “Social Selling -Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers”, we use research from Google that talks about a new buyer group. Changemakers are very unlike the internal salesperson of the past. In most buying cycles today, the customer has self educated. And with so many products on the market, they are confused. They will most likely have used their (social) networks to draw up a short list. The change maker is different. Change makers will push through and champion your product and service… but only if they see it will help their career. They are not affiliated to any company, so are highly likely to give you a hard time in meetings.

If you haven’t already read CEB’s book, The Challenger Customer, I highly recommend it. In it, they call changemakers. mobilisers, and they go into far more detail about the types of people.

If you don’t have a mobiliser in your connections in each of your deals, your forecast is at risk.

Using your Networks

When I did account reviews in the past, the trick would be to try and get a companies paper telephone list or organisation charts, so you could understand names and job titles. These are now kept on-line and you don’t need access to them as we have LinkedIn, Twitter etc. Are you using your networks to “move around” a company get to meet new people or be referred?


To move through an organisation, getting in front of the relevant stakeholders, we can usually do this through referrals. One high performing sales guy I know has 200 contacts in his “black book” and he has done this by getting people to refer him on, or by people finding him.

With products like LinkedIn, you can do this and at scale. LinkedIn also should enable you to find those people that have influence by no authority. In my previous company, there were many of them and is a good reference for senior people not making decisions, or ratifying the decisions of the change makers.

Here at DLA there is no “analogue” and “digital” there is just the way people buy and sell in 2017 and this involves social baked into everything. Because if you are not using social as part of your every day working practices, you are leaving money on the table.

Your Turn

What changes have you seen in Sales methodologies? Which changes have you been exposed to? And what are your thoughts about this evolotion? Do you have any predictions regarding continuing changes? If so, please share!


Additional reading: How to Be Successful in Social Selling

The Changing Landscape of Social Media Usage


This article was previously titled “Why Your Sales Methodology No Longer Cuts It” and posted on LinkedIn. It is republished here with permission.

Tim Hughes is co-founder of Digital Leadership Associates a company that provides support and guidance in all areas of Social as well as Social Selling. He has been called “an innovator and pioneer” of Social Selling and in the recent Onalytica list of the most influential Social Sellers globally, Tim was named as number 1.

You can tweet Tim @timothy_hughes, read his blog The Social Selling Network and download or order his book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” from Amazon by clicking here.


Lead/Featured Image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_limbi007‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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